You’ll love the bagels in Montreal. Actually It is highly unlikely you’ll have trouble finding something delicious to eat in Montreal. With 65 eateries per square kilometre, markets, bagel shops, cooking classes and plenty of local foodie experiences, Montréal offers plenty to tantalise the palate.
Here’s a guide to eating your way through Montreal.
Just eat Montreal
Montrealers love to eat well and meeting friends for a snack at the markets is a ritual. Atwater Market (138 Atwater Avenu) is the largest open-air market in North America.
Known for its butchers and charcuteries, as well as its horticultural vendors and farmers, locals come here to fill their bicycle baskets with fresh meat, fish, seafood, bread and pastries.
Located in the southwest of Montréal near the Lachine Canal, the Atwater Market is located in a 1933 art deco-style building. The market and bordering street are named after 19th century businessman and politician, Edwin Atwater.
Jean-Talon Market in Little Italy is where you’ll find the tantalising aromas of grilled sausages, crepes and fresh fruit wafting through the air. Stalls sell spices, oils, cheese, deli meats and other regional delicacies from Quebec.
Opened in 1933, Jean-Talon Market (7070 Henri-Julien Avenue) is the oldest public market in Montréal and one of the largest markets in North America. See www.marchespublics-mtl.com.
There’s nothing like biting into a fresh bagel, hot from the oven, especially so in Montreal. Montreal’s first bagel recipes were brought to the city by Jewish settlers from Poland in the 1900s. Over the last decade, making bagels has evolved into an art form and consuming them has become a religion.
St-Viateur Bagels has been in business since 1957 and is a favourite haunt of Celine Dion. Their ovens work 24 hours a day seven days a week and they sell over 1,000 dozen bagels a day. Each bagel is hand rolled and baked in a wood-burning oven.
Fairmount Bagel Bakery was the first to open in Montreal in 1919 and sells more than 20 different varieties of bagels. Fairmount’s bagels went to outer space when Canadian astronaut Gregory Chamitoff packed 18 sesame bagels for his expedition to the International Space Station in 2008.
In the Jewish area of Boulevard Saint-Laurent, which is a historic artery connecting Montreal’s ethnic enclaves and the immigrant corridor where Jewish, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese and Greek immigrants first settled, Schwartz’s Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen is a favourite local hangout for smoked meat on rye.
The smoked meat, which is marinated for ten days and smoked daily, is prepared the old-fashioned way using a recipe of herbs and spices that has been in existence since 1928.
The province of Quebec consumes more maple products per capita than anywhere else in the world and the sugar shack experience is an essential cultural experience here.
In winter, people flock to sugar shacks (cabane à sucre) to fill up on sausages, baked beans and scrambled eggs covered with a generous coating of sticky-sweet maple syrup.
The experience often includes traditional music played during the meal, a much-needed walk through the maple forest after the meal and eating hot maple taffy on fresh snow. Maple taffy stands can be found in the markets and there are hundreds of sugar shacks within driving distance of Montreal’s city centre.
A dish of French fries, cheese curds and gravy, poutine is a fast food that was invented in Quebec in the 1950s. You’ll find poutine everywhere in Montreal, including inventive poutine creations such as butter chicken poutine, Greek poutine and donut poutine with duck gravy.
The best time to get your chops into poutine tasting is during Montreal Poutine Week in February.
Montreal’s old town
If it’s your first time in Montreal, you’ll want to stay in Old Montreal. The good news is there are plenty of wonderful restaurants in the historic quarter.
Taverne Gaspar offers comfort food inspired by the British Gastro Pub tradition with French and Quebecois accents. House specialties are scallops with pork belly and butterflied Cornish hen.
Barocco has a rich atmosphere and a menu of meat dishes, such as a steak with chimichurri that ranks among the best in town, as well as studied full-course meals such as guinea hen with cognac and truffle sauce, with purple potatoes and manchego.
Olive + Gourmando is a top spot for breakfast or lunch. Here are some more suggestions on things to do in Montreal from local Instagrammer @yellowillow.
Keep your carbon footprint to a minimum by walking, taking the Metro or renting a BIXI bicycle.
The city’s convenient public bike-sharing system allows riders to access bicycles by swiping a credit card. Bikes can be returned at any of the numerous BIXI docking stations around Montreal.
Auberge du Vieux Port is in a great location. The boutique hotel has cosy high-ceilinged rooms with views of the Saint Lawrence river.
Here are some things to do in Montreal in spring. For more information see Best of Canada.
Looking for unique accommodation in Canada? Here are some places you will love.
Read this post for the most amazing things to do in Niagara Falls.
Visit the town of Gananoque and see the 1000 islands.
Love sweet things? Here’s an interesting story about honey.
For a delicious cocktail from British Columbia, check out this recipe.